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The disturbing reason women's clothing historically never had pockets.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 17/7/2017 Danica Lamb
pockets2 © getty pockets2

Friend: ‘I love your dress!’

Me: ‘Oh, thanks! It’s got POCKETS’

Women globally: *shriek with excitement*

If there is one thing women can communally agree on, it’s that we love pockets. We cannot get enough of them. Literally. We can’t, and don’t, get enough of them.

It’s not news to any of us that still, in 2017, women’s clothing either completely lacks the potential for a pouch or, even worse, has COUNTERFEIT POCKETS that inspire a millisecond of hope before crushing your dreams when you realise it only has a depth of two centimetres.

But historically, women have always been deprived of pockets. And the reason why is disturbing.

In a piece on Racked, journalist Chelsea Summers puts it most simply when she writes, "the less women could carry, the less freedom they had".

Think about that for a second.

Before the seventeenth century, both men and women's clothing weren't conducive to pockets, and both genders would have to add purses or bags to their attire. But towards the eighteenth century, men's clothing all of a sudden got pockets. Women, of course, were left behind.

"Take away pockets happily hidden under garments," writes Summers, "and you limit women’s ability to navigate public spaces, to carry seditious (or merely amorous) writing, or to travel unaccompanied".

In the mid to late 1800s, as women were fighting for liberation, pockets were introduced to clothing. Pockets represented independence - as did the pants women started to wear. Post war, however, pockets went out of fashion, in an effort to make women's silhouettes 'thinner' and more feminine, whatever that means.

Throughout history, women have had a complex relationship with pockets. Even now, countless articles have been written lamenting the fact that women's clothes rarely have pockets large enough to fit an iPhone - a piece of property almost every person needs to carry.

No pockets also means women need to invest in clutches and handbags - a strategy that earns the fashion industry more and more money.

So when you do find that dress or skirt or pants that have excellent pockets, be reminded there's something inherently political about them. Ladies - our obsession with pockets could not be more warranted.

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